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Mandelson slams transport policy

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FORMER LABOUR cabinet minister Peter Mandelson has criticised the government's transport record in the latest edition of his book The Blair Revolution Revisited, due to be published this week.

Mandelson, who is credited as one of the architects of the New Labour movement, says that the 10 year transport plan launched in July 2000 was poorly conceived.

He claims that there are 'better ways to formulate policy' than by producing a 10 year plan for transport and that it is questionable whether the plan 'properly benefited from the sort of rigorous analysis and robust crunching down of radical options that such policy areas demand'.

He is especially critical of deputy prime minister John Prescott's efforts as transport secretary between 1997 and 2001.

'The biggest failure to date has been transport, where in the first term neither strategy nor delivery was effective, ' says Mandelson, who served as minister without portfolio, trade and industry secretary and Northern Ireland secretary in Labour's first term of office.

Prescott was replaced as transport secretary by Stephen Byers after last year's election.

'The future challenge is partly one of delivery, particularly in areas (notably transport) where there has been virtually none to date, ' adds Mandelson.

He said that signs for the future are good, however, with initiatives such as the launch of Railtrack's successor, the beginning of 30 year public private partnership to modernise London Underground and the forming of the Strategic Rail Authority expected to 'turn the tide'.

INFOPLUS The Blair Revolution Revisited published by Politico's Publishing is out this week in paperback at £9.99.

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